The Foreign Ministry's deputy director-general threatened to resign after Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman involved himself in the selection of the next cultural attache to Moscow, Channel 2 reported on Tuesday.
According to the report, after an initial selection process, two final candidates remained. The two criteria in for the position (in order of importance) were: Cultural experience, and fluency in Russian. One of the candidates holds extensive cultural experience but does not speak Russian, while the other speaks Russian but comes from a statistics background with no cultural background.
At some point during the selection meeting, a call came through from the foreign minister's office with instructions to reverse the importance of the selection criteria, a preference for the Russian speaker, according to Channel 2. It was at this point that the deputy director-general threatened to resign, saying that it would not be appropriate to send a cultural attache without any cultural background.
In a response issued to Channel 2, Lieberman expressed amazement "that a person who does not speak Russian and has never been exposed to its [Russia's] culture would be selected for the position." The Foreign Minister continued, questioning the ability of someone without knowledge of the Russian language and culture to properly expose the [Russian] public to Israeli culture.
Lieberman said that he has instructed his office "to write a letter to the Civil Service Commission so that these defects will be corrected in the future." The foreign minister added that he had no prior knowledge who the candidates were.